The northeast valley gets a bad rap.
Most Angelenos drive by it on the I-5 or 210 not seeing much but large areas of industrial spaces and open spaces yet to be developed.
I know some people who think of Monster Joe’s Auto Wrecking from the end Pulp Fiction when they think of this area, but that’s a narrow minded view of what you can find.
The San Fernando Valley was first seen by Europeans in 1769 when Portola first entered from what we now call the Sepulveda Pass.
There were a number of Native America tribes settled in the area which led the Spanish to construct a mission in the northeastern edge of the valley in 1797, which is now known as Mission San Fernando.
Mission San Fernando in 1870 (Photo: DWP)
Settlement in the valley was relatively sleepy for the next century mainly focused on cattle, then farming, but the area played an important part of the trade route before the Southern Pacific connected with the north.
As water from the Owens Valley was being brought to the region, the valley had a growth spurt in the early 20th century as the Pacific Electric began bringing better connections.
The newly formed City of San Fernando avoided annexation by Los Angeles largely because of having their own water source and developers, which some still have streets named after, started building towards their future.
Classic hotels were built and future architect of Griffith Observatory and L.A. City Hall designed the local high school (now middle school) which still stands as a landmark today.
San Fernando Middle Schoo (nee: High School)
Like every of our early neighborhoods, the area experienced growing pains as did the whole valley’s landscape when freeways shifted people away to suburban, mid-century living.
Still, there are amazing landmarks in the area, like the Lopez Adobe (1882) and Pico Adobe (1832) which now houses the San Fernando Valley Historical Society.
So, why haven’t I mentioned cycling at all this far in?
This is my setup for the Sunday Funday Ride that I’m leading this weekend that will share part of the area’s history and future.
The Pacific Electric rolling down Brand Boulevard. (Photo: DWP)
It will cover fifteen miles and will not only show the aforementioned landmarks, but also some of the nearby sites in Sylmar and Pacoima, including the new protected bike lanes on Van Nuys Blvd.
If you’ve never done one of these rides, they’re done at a nice 10 – 12 mph pace with a couple of stops along the way.
What is different too about this ride is that it’s accessible by Metrolink.
Everyone should be familiar with their bike friendliness and $10 weekend pass which gives you many options around the region.
The Antelope Valley Line leaves Union Station at 8:45 a.m. and gets you there in plenty of time for the ride.
‘purty easy to throw your bike on Metrolink.
We will meet at 9:30 a.m. and roll at 10:00 a.m. and will finish before the returning train arrives at 1:59 p.m.
If you can hang around after, we’ll be heading to the San Fernando Brewing Company for, you know, stuff.
I’m pretty excited about this ride and it should open a lot of people’s eyes to this overlooked part of the valley.
Come roll with me and a number of others Sunday as a great way to kick off 2017.